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A Message From Mayor Rob Ford

January 31, 2012 — The following is a message from City of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, issued by the Office of the Mayor to residents and businesses, including TREB, on January 27, 2012. It is being provided for your information.

Dear Friends,

From 1910 to 2007, the City of Toronto has based its transit planning around subway lines (built or anticipated). It is now time that we get back to this sort of transit planning to make certain residents will continue to have rapid transit as a mode of commuting.

For the past 50 of those 100 years of planning transit around subways, the Yonge-University and Bloor-Danforth lines have continually served as arteries that take in thousands of people each day from near-by surface routes and get them to their destinations quickly.

We are now at a juncture where we must expand on our established transit infrastructure to ensure people can continue getting to where they want to go in a fast and efficient way.

As you know, I have continually pushed for an underground LRT that will span from Jane/Black Creek to Kennedy Station. I have done this because residents have repeatedly stressed that they do not want streetcars that are marginally faster than busses and take up lanes of traffic. Lastly, it is important that Scarborough, the fastest growing region in Toronto, is finally provided with a rapid transit line that can help move its 625,000 residents faster.

In the coming days you are likely to hear some comments from City Hall that will suggest we should go back to Transit City. Proponents will argue that Transit City is an effective way to get around Toronto. I argue, however, that the best way to move people across Toronto is with rapid transit – which you simply cannot have with the surface rail lines.

Metrolinx estimates that the average trip for a rider will be reduced by half on the underground Eglinton Crosstown. Scarborough transit riders on an underground line could travel from Laird Avenue to Kennedy Station in about 14 minutes. This is a vast improvement from the estimated travel time of 24 minutes on a surface rail line.

It is also important to remember that an underground rapid transit line has considerable savings for taxpayers. Underground lines and the vehicles that travel on them require less maintenance since they are spared the wear and tear of Canadian summers and winters. This will result in infrastructure that lasts longer and keeps the capital replacement costs down.

While Executive Committee waits for a report from Toronto Community Housing on how $222 million in revenue from TCHC property sales can be appropriately applied to fixing the City’s housing stock , I will be visiting TCHC buildings with staff to show Toronto why we must move ahead with the sale of some community housing properties. Yesterday, I visited 101 Humber with City and TCHC staff to make sure they are aware of where this money needs to go. I will be conducting more visits to these units over the next few weeks to reinforce why City Council must move ahead with this initiative. Please visit http://www.torontosun.com/2012/01/26/asdf to get a more detailed account of my visit.

Tomorrow at 1:00 PM at Eglinton Square (located at Eglinton and Victoria Park) I invite you to join Councillor Ford and I for our second Community Walk for my “Cut the Waist Challenge”. Please feel free to join us and share your thoughts on why you think we need more rapid transit in Scarborough.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Yours truly,
Mayor Rob Ford

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